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Acura RDX
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Overall: A mid-cycle refresh includes updated front- and rear-end designs, including Acura’s multi-projector headlights.

Drivetrain: A 273-horsepower V6 is the standard powerplant; six-speed automatic transmission looks after the gear changing.

Demand for premium priced (and equipped) wagons has grown as more car shoppers discover the practical advantages of such vehicles. The RDX is part of a group that includes the BMW X3, Audi Q5, Cadillac SRX, Lexus RX and Lincoln MKC and revamped MKX for 2016. Based on the Honda CR-V platform, the RDX has continually evolved to become a key member of Acura’s fleet. That’s especially true since its last major update for the 2013 model year when a 273-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 replaced the weaker and thirstier turbocharged four-cylinder. The engine features Honda’s Variable Cylinder Management (VCM) that can shut down two or three of the six cylinders under light-load conditions. With VCM, the RDX’s fuel economy ratings are pegged at 20 mpg in the city and 29 on the highway for front-wheel-drive models (19/28 when all-wheel-drive is ordered). Also assisting is a six-speed automatic transmission that replaced the turbo’s five-speed gear changer. For 2016, Acura has restyled both ends of the vehicle and installed a pair of its signature “Jewel Eye” headlights (essentially five individual LED lights per unit) that are more effective at illuminating the way forward than traditional halogen bulbs, but won’t blind oncoming traffic. Acura’s AWD with “Intelligent Control” directs 25 percent of the available torque to the rear wheels when accelerating from a stop, sends up to 100 percent to the front wheels when at a steady speed and splits the torque 50:50 when heading up a 15-percent (or greater) slope. It can’t send extra torque to the outside turning wheels like the previous SH-AWD system could, but that’s at least partially offset by electronic power-steering and traction-control systems that reduce front- or rear-end plowing while turning, commonly referred to as understeer and oversteer. The RDX follows Acura’s formula of offering plenty of standard luxury content, including a power moonroof, leather-covered interior, power-adjustable front seats and a 360-watt audio system. An optional Tech Package adds a navigation /rearview camera combo, and a premium ELS-brand 10-speaker sound system.